AZ Campaign to Connect Businesses with Local Banks & Credit Unions

Community Banking Month Header Local First Arizona (LFA) will celebrate Community Banking Month this April to draw attention to the importance of local banks and credit unions to the vibrancy of Arizona’s statewide economy. Community Banking Month, an initiative of the Independent Community Bankers of America, will encourage consumers and businesses to move their money to local financial institutions.

“When your money is deposited in locally owned and operated community banks and credit unions, it's quickly recycled back into our local economy,” said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “The largest impact is seen in small business lending. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, while small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business. So by shifting our money to local financial institutions, local businesses will have an easier time getting access to the capital they need to expand and create jobs.”

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Access to capital continues to be a challenge facing many local businesses in Arizona. A recent survey conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance earlier this year found that nearly half of independent businesses in Arizona who took the survey reported they had applied for a loan in the last two years but were unsuccessful in obtaining a loan (45%). An additional 16% responded that they were successful in getting a loan but not for the full amount requested. Only 39% of surveyed businesses who said they applied for a loan in the last two years reported successfully finding a lender for the full amount.

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“The inability of businesses to get the financing they need is hurting our economy and dampening job growth here in Arizona,” said Lanning. “According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in 2015, only 4% of Arizona's total deposits were being held in Arizona-owned banks and credit unions, meaning that 96% of our money is being held and controlled by large out-of-state banks. If we can increase that amount of deposits in Arizona-owned banks to just 10%, that will have an enormous impact on financing available for local businesses and lead to huge economic gains for our state.”

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This event is meant to introduce businesses to the variety of local banks and credit unions so that they can learn about and compare the available options to find the best fit for their business goals. The event is free to attend, and businesses can register here.

The Big Short Tucson Poster

In Tucson, Local First Arizona will host a screening of The Big Short at The Loft Cinema on Thursday, April 21, at 6:00 PM. Winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), The Big Short features a whip-smart script, fast-paced editing, and somehow manages to make the complicated world of investment banking digestible. Before the film, attendees will have a chance to visit with representatives from local banks and credit unions at the Community Banking Fair, who will be distributing vouchers for free popcorn. Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning will offer remarks before the film begins on the impact of banking locally on Arizona’s economy. Regular admission pricing applies and tickets are available online at

Community members and business owners can also take the pledge to bank locally at Those who sign the pledge will be entered to win an assortment of prizes. Interested in learning more about the local banks and credit unions in Arizona? Browse our directory for a list of "certified local" banking options!